Quite a few things have happened in the couple of days I was away in the belly of the beast. Stephen Daisley has come back to troll again, this time from the pages of his natural home in the Daily Mail after having been cruelly silenced by the evil SNP and the supine STV for acting like an arse on Twitter when he’s supposed to be representing a Scottish broadcaster. The poor thing is so censored and oppressed that he has to address the nation from a column in a right wing fakesnewspaper and can only rely on the support of the British establishment. He fancies himself as a sort of Nelson Mandela of Unionism, but really he’s more of a 140 character Katie Hopkins.
He wasn’t sacked by STV, just told to behave himself. When you use the Twitter account of a broadcaster to urge people to follow notorious trolls you grant those trolls legitimacy and create the impression that the broadcaster shares your views. Having been slapped down for behaviour that any employer would have slapped down any employee for, Daisley has turned into the Joan of Arc of Unionism, sacrificed on the fires of intolerant cybernattery.
Stephen Daisley is what you get when the powerful attempt to steal the mantle of victimhood. You get a man whose political views are so far to the right that Attila the Hun would consider him a bit extreme, and who has used his platform to foster the myth that a country which doesn’t have control over its own broadcast media, and which has but one single daily newspaper and one Sunday which support independence, is a one party state in thrall to an intolerant xenophobic nationalism where all contrary views are crushed. Scotland is indeed in thrall to an intolerant xenophobic nationalism that refuses to listen. It’s just not the one that Daisley thinks it is.
Naturally the Thatcherite tweetist has also got the full support of all those progressive and social democratic types who put their Unionism before their progressive social democracy. Scottish Unionism, just like the alt-right, specialises in casting supporters of the status quo, supporters of the powerful and well-connected, supporters of the state, as victims. You can be an apologist for rapacious landlords, tax-evading companies, and a political system that virtually consigns democracy into the bin for the entire nation of Scotland, and you can still feel like you’re a put upon wee sowel who’s being bullied by those nasty people who are speaking up for the disenfranchised.
It’s possibly the first time in history that people have spoken up for the right not to be heard, and Daisley is their poster boy. I’m all for freedom of speech, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over a man who spends his online time as a fully paid up member of the bag of spanners and propagating the blatant lie that the independence movement is motivated by anti-English racism.
I know Stephen Daisley’s type. We went to the same school in Coatbridge, albeit I was there 20 years before him so our paths didn’t cross, but we are both gay men from a working class background brought up in a deeply homophobic and intolerant environment. I experienced what he experienced, only a generation earlier when it was even worse. We were told that we couldn’t really be Scottish, being from a Catholic background and gay as well. I met a lot of scarred gay Scots like that when I lived in London, men who had been so battered and bruised by an upbringing of rejection that all empathy had been crushed out of their souls. Daisley’s made over-compensation into a career. He’s still fighting his demons, and wants the rest of us to pay the price, but since he can’t punish those who really slighted and rejected him, he’ll find imaginary slights to castigate instead. The Scottishness that rejected him must be evil and must be discredited, because he felt rejected by it. Some people wear their psychology on their sleeves, Stephen Daisley plasters his all over the pages of the Daily Mail. I’ll be honest, I feel sorry for him. I don’t think he’s happy in his own skin.
Meanwhile, in other news, the real intolerant nationalism, the British one that Daisley is blind to, continues to exert its malign influence on Scotland. Theresa May has clearly ruled out any chance of Scotland having a measure of control over immigration, at least in so far as Theresa May is ever clear about anything other than a tautology. She’s ruled out any special deal for Scotland within a post-Brexit Britain, letting us know that in the British hierarchy of vested interests Scotland comes far behind Japanese car manufacturers and a very long way indeed behind the City of London. Shut up Scotland means shut up Scotland. The views of a small minority of Scottish voters are being imposed on the majority, yet those who are doing the imposing and those who speak for them are being oppressed when the rest of us point out the injustice.
Having completed the Conservative party’s transformation into Ukip, control of immigration is going to remain very firmly with Westminster, despite the noises that the Leave campaign was making during the EU referendum that Scotland could be granted a measure of control over how many come to live here. With our ageing population, and a young population which is continually drawn off to London because that’s the part of the UK where successive British governments have concentrated investment and growth, Scotland needs immigration. But instead our migration policy will be determined by the political needs of a Tory party that has to placate racists and people who defend the powerful but who want us to believe that they are victims.
If this is what they mean by Scotland being an equal partner in this family of nations then the gods alone know what not being an equal partner would mean. Probably it means having Stephen Daisley and a legion of Conservative apologists lecture us about how oppressed Scottish Unionists are and how they’re the real victims here. Oh wait.
The real victims are not the Tories crying victimhood, they are the hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland whose livelihoods and futures are being held hostage to the arrogance and contempt of British nationalists whose nationalism is so extreme that they don’t even recognise that they’re nationalists at all. In a country with more Conservative columnists than Conservative MPs, a country with many more Unionist publications than independence supporting ones, it’s the Conservatives who are the ones complaining that they’re not being heard. Despite their protests, it’s not that they are deprived of platforms, they’re just upset that Scotland is no longer inclined to listen to them.
Audio version of this article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-6th-feb-2017
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